Before ActiveRain and Now....Life-Changing? Indeed
I remember getting invited to join ActiveRain back in December 2006. I signed up, make a rudimentary profile, and then.....nothing. A few months passed, then I wrote a brief, somewhat pathetic post in March 2007, followed by....several months more of inactivity on the network for me.
I consider my actual start date to be August 5th, 2007, when I actually starting reading, commenting, and regularly writing on AR. Since then, I have composed over 900 posts, which seemed like an insurmountable task back when I got going.
So, how have things changed for me? Well, how much time do you have on your hands right now? :) Don't worry - I won't recap every detail.
First and foremost, I re-discovered my dormant love of writing thanks to ActiveRain. I have enjoyed writing since I was a kid, but for many years after college I had no outlet for this creative pursuit. I soon realized that consistent blogging not only improved my abilities as a writer, but it also allowed me to have an opportunity to express myself as a teacher, student, and friend. I am actually working on multiple potential book projects currently.
Before I started blogging here, I was constantly worried about my website's placement on Google. I've been working on SEO since 1997, when our site first launched. Having had the #1 spot for many of our keywords in the past, I would obsess over dropping to #3 or 4 on the first page. In retrospect, this seems a little silly, but it was certainly part of my overall real estate success, and our site provides a good number of leads for our agents, too. I am thankful to state that we remain in the top few results for all of the terms I track, and ActiveRain has also enabled me to garner top placement for a handful of "long tail" terms as well. One of my posts, Austin Texas Relocation Package, has garnered 28,755 visits as of this writing! In essence, every one of my public posts is like a webpage of its own, bringing visitors indefinitely. Awesome!
The contacts I have made on ActiveRain have led to many other opportunities and projects. I met my Social Media Edge radio co-host, Ken Cook, right here on AR, along with our stellar sidekicks, Mike Mueller and Jeremy Blanton. Recently, Ken and I were happy to announce that the JCKC network has expanded - Mike is hosting "The M Files", and the TwitterQueens are starting an hour-long program on Monday. All of our programs can be found at http://blogtalkradio.com/jckc. If you had told me two years ago that I would be hosting one of the most popular shows on BlogTalkRadio about social media, I probably would have said, "What the heck is social media?!?" :)
As I have mentioned many times, I am still struck by how supportive my AR friends were when my good friend David Wilder was dying of cancer. Through my blogging here, along with the support of a few key members that I asked, we were able to raise $5000 to help my friend and his wife keep their home, since she was unable to work while caring for him. Before ActiveRain, I had no such resource in place to help them, so this was a true blessing. That's David and Jan on the left. Man, I miss him.
Before ActiveRain, I was still essentially the same person - husband, father, son, real estate guy, etc. However, I have to admit that AR has given me a taste of celebrity and a rather sizable "audience", both here and on other platforms. I have over 1500 subscribers to this blog now, along with about 16,000 other contacts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere. I was introduced to every one of those other places by members of ActiveRain. In fact, I still remember John Novak of Las Vegas spending about an hour on the phone with me trying to explain Twitter when I first started there. Thanks very much, John! I recruited two of my best agents on that network, including our current top producer.
As I may have alluded to previously, when over 70 of my friends showed up for my birthday party last year, over half of whom came from AR, my head grew three sizes that day, not unlike the Grinch's heart. Again, this would have seemed shocking to me two short years ago, before I understood the bonds that develop here.
I could certainly go on with more examples, but I think we'll stop here for now. I guess I could just sum things up by saying that my participation on ActiveRain has led to some brilliant opportunities, many sales, and a new, revived direction for my career and, perhaps, my life as well.
Thanks for reading!